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Upper Division Course Offerings


Fall 2014


ETS 303-1 Reading and Writing Fiction  
TTH 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Instructor: Sarah Harwell
All creative disciplines depend on the study and imitation of the particular art form for mastery of their elements.  In this course you will read and analyze a number of short stories in order to deepen your understanding of a variety of concerns in storytelling including voice, style, description, story, and character.  We will attempt to answer the question: how have authors generated emotions, interest, and power in creative texts?  You will be required to display an understanding of these issues by producing creative and analytical responses to the texts studied.  Possible authors include Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, James Joyce, James Baldwin, Anton Chekhov, and Raymond Carver.



ETS 305-2 Critical Analysis: Feminist Theories and Methodologies
MW 2:15-3:35 p.m.
Instructor: Naomi Edwards
This course provides an overview of feminist theory at the advanced undergraduate level. We will examine the historical and theoretical foundations of feminism and consider feminist theory’s impact on criticism and literature. We will analyze the various ways in which gender is constructed, including how intersecting ideologies of sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and nation impact our understanding and experience of gendered identities.



ETS 305-3  Critical Analysis: Dialectical Criticism
TTH 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
Where does meaning come from?  All interpretive practices propose an answer to this question.  Some critics emphasize authorial intention; others reader responses.  Some insist that only situating a text in its original historical context elucidates it.  Others argue that the text simply means what it says on its surface. Dialectical Criticism suggests that all of these approaches—and numerous others-- can be useful, but that they produce partial perspectives.  It is only relationally—that is, by way of a detour through social totality—that texts can be properly assessed and understood.  Just as individuals are motivated by unconscious forces, so too are societies.  In this class we will learn and practice the critical procedures that allow us a glimpse of the complex and ever-changing “political unconscious” in which the meanings that matter—that is, that have material effects in the world—are produced.  All texts, necessarily, are formed in and respond to (by affirming and resisting), these social meanings.  We will examine a range of literary texts as well as mass cultural forms (advertising, film, internet) to get a sense of how the “political unconscious” works in different historical and geographical situations.


ETS 310-1 Literary Periods: The Victorian Age, 1837-1901
TTH 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Instructor: Kevin Morrison
We have all had a good laugh at the Victorians. Confined to their impossibly full drawing rooms, the women wore crinolines, sewed, and played the piano—all the while thinking of marriage and home. The men were chivalrous but condescending, telling their wives and daughters what their opinions should be. Both men and women were prudes—even draping piano legs with skirts—and their tastes ranged from vulgar (knickknacks, festooned curtains, and a superabundance of chintz) to downright weird (stuffed pet animals). No one, of course, ever had sex, although couples at midcentury, miraculously, averaged six children. Deflating some of these myths, this course will introduce you to a complex age that is both remarkably similar to and strikingly different from our own. Reading novels, poetry, etiquette guides, letters, diaries, social and political treatises, and sermons, we will think through a set of issues that confused, confounded, and galvanized the Victorians (as they do for many of us), including gender, sexuality, domesticity, poverty and inequality, warfare, and imperialism.
Pre-1900 Course


ETS 315-1 Ethnic Literatures and Cultures:  The Holocaust in American Literature
MW 12:45-2:05 p.m.
Instructor: Harvey Teres
This course will explore the moral, religious, and artistic challenges faced by American writers who have represented the Holocaust and its aftermath in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.  Students will begin by reading a historical account of the Holocaust and several perspectives on the effects of the Holocaust on American life, especially among American Jews.  We will spend the rest of the semester reading literary representations of the Holocaust and its aftermath.  Texts will likely include Philip Roth’s “Eli, the Fanatic” and The Ghost Writer; Bernard Malamud’s “The Last Mohican” and “Lady of the Lake”; Jerzy Kosinski’s The Painted Bird, Cynthia Ozick’s “The Pagan Rabbi,” “The Shawl,” and “Rosa”; Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated; Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem; Art Spiegelman’s Maus I and Maus II; Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution; Nathan Englander’s “The Tumblers”; and selected poetry by Jacob Glatstein, Charles Reznikoff, W.D. Snodgrass, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Anthony Hecht, Elie Wiesel, and others.  


ETS 315-2 Ethnic Literatures and Cultures: Yiddish Literature in Translation
MWF  11:40-12:35 p.m.
Instructor: Ken Frieden
A survey of the greatest works in modern Yiddish fiction and drama. Our readings focus on four areas: 1) the three classic Yiddish authors: S. Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I. L. Peretz; 2) Yiddish drama by J. Gordin and S. Ansky; 3) modernist trends in Yiddish: Lamed Shapiro and David Bergelson; and 4) Yiddish women writers:Serdatsky, Dropkin, and others.  
(meets with JSP/LIT/REL 333)


ETS 320-4 Authors: Philip Roth
TTH 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Instructor: Harvey Teres
In this course we will read many of the major novels and short stories of Philip Roth, one of America’s most controversial yet highly decorated contemporary writers.  On the one hand accused of being a “self-hating Jew” and an inveterate sexist, on the other a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in literature and lauded as a courageous truth-teller, Roth usually evokes a strong response from readers one way or another.  This course will invite you to respond as you see fit as we consider Roth’s achievements as an artist and observer of post-World War II American life.  Texts will likely include Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint, Reading Myself and Others, The Facts, The Ghost Writer, The Counterlife, Sabbath’s Theater, American Pastoral, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America.   Along the way we will read interpretations of Roth’s fiction by scholars and critics.
(meets wtih JSP 300-15)


ETS 325-1 History and Varieties of English
TTH 11:00 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
Instructor: Patricia Moody
This course aims to provide students with as much knowledge as possible, as interactively as possible, of the basic structures of the English language and representations of its history.  Equally important, the course aims to develop critical awareness of contemporary language issues and the complex ways in which language embeds attitudes.


ETS 340-2 Theorizing Forms and Genres: The Canterbury Tales
TTH 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Instructor: Patricia Moody
Geoffrey Chaucer stands arguably along with Shakespeare as an icon of the English literary canon.  Dubbed ‘the father of English poetry,’ his unfinished masterpiece The Canterbury Tales has been a monument worthy of both appreciation and scrutiny for almost 600 years.  This course will take the cultural icon of Geoffrey Chaucer along with his most famous work as its subject.  We will examine the age and culture that produced a ‘Chaucer’ as well as the subsequent construction and reception of that same ‘Chaucer’; we will also examine The Canterbury Tales severally and together from the critical perspective of discourse analysis.  
Pre-1900 Course


ETS 360-1 Reading Gender and Sexualities: Victorian Sexualities
TTH 9:30-10:50 a.m.
Instructor: Claudia Klaver
The Victorian periods stands in an interesting relation to our own--with surprising correspondences and disjunctions.  These are particularly compelling in the areas of gender and sexuality.  Despite the impression of many, Victorian culture and practice was often quite queer, with a proliferation of non-normative and perverse genders and sexualities.  In this course we will examine a range of literary and cultural texts that engage more or less explicitly with genders and sexualities that push the boundaries of the mainstream and normative.  Our investigations will draw upon the insights of recent feminist and queer theory and the context provided by more primary and secondary historical materials.  Our reading will include fiction by C. Dickens, Wilkie Collins, E. Gaskell, M. E. Braddon, R. L. Stevenson (Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde), Bram Stoker (Dracula), Oscar Wilde (Picture of Dorian Gray) and poetry by G. Egerton, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Michael Field, Christina Rossetti, A. C. Swinburne, and Arthur Symonds. We will also examine a number of non-fictional prose texts, both canonical and noncanonical.  Work for the course will include two 6-8 page papers, a take home midterm, and a formal oral presentation.
(meets with WGS 360 and QSX 300-14)
Pre-1900 Course


ETS 360-2 Reading Gender and Sexualities:  Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the History of Sexuality (meets with QSX 300-15)
TTH 11:00-12:20 p.m.
Instructor: Dorri Beam
Before the relatively recent invention of heterosexuality and homosexuality in the late nineteenth century, what was sex?  What did it include and exclude?  How did people understand their intimate relations?  Into what categories did people fit their self-stylizations of gender, affect, and pleasure?  Did they have an idea of sexuality as an identity? As something stable belonging to themselves?  We will use literature of the American nineteenth century to explore these questions while also dipping into other discourses such as health reform, marriage advice, utopian manifestos, and sex radicalism; exploring alternative practices such as polygamy and celibacy; and studying texts that feature African American and Native American resistant formations of marriage and family. Texts are likely to include selections from bachelor literature, urban porno-gothic, frontier fiction, bohemian literature, and short stories and novels by Herman Melville, Frank Webb, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Bret Harte, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Constance Fenimore Woolson, Frank Norris, Pauline Hopkins, Zitkala Sa, and Sui Sin Far.
Pre-1900 Course


ETS 401-2: Advanced Poetry Workshop
M 3:45-6:30 p.m.
Instructor: Michael Burkard
Students will submit for class discussion new poems written weekly.  Close reading of poets (including Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Pablo Neruda, and various contemporary poets) will be equally emphasized for weekly assignments.  Poems by poets studied will often be the basis for the student creative writing assignments.  
Enrollment is limited to15 students.  No auditing permitted.  


ETS 403-2 Advanced Fiction Workshop
T 3:30-6:15 p.m.
Instructor: Arthur Flowers
Workshop format.  Craft.  Discipline.  Sophistication.  Vision.    


ETS 405-1 Topics in Medicine and Culture: Medicine in Literature and Film
W 4:15-7:15 p.m.
Instructor: Deirdre Neilen
Meets in Room 3508 Setnor Academic Building, SUNY Upstate campus, 766 Irving Ave
The relationship between artistic creation and medicine will be explored through the study of novels, film, short stories, poetry, and essays about medical situations, characters, and themes. Thematic areas to be examined include the relationship between truth and confidentiality; the hospital as toxic and therapeutic environment; relationships between healthcare workers and patients; illness as metaphor and as reality; and the experience of disease.


ETS 410-1 Forms and Genres: Practices of Games
MW 3:45-5:05 p.m.
Film screening W 6:45-9:15 p.m.
Instructor: Chris Hanson
This course will explore the evolving form of digital games, tracing their historical roots in traditional board games and other associated cultural modes of play to current and possible future iterations of video games.  We will employ a range of critical approaches to gaming; digital games will be “read” and critically interrogated as texts, and the relationships between game, player, design, software, interface, and structures of play will be discussed.  As we examine the development of games and their associated genres, we will investigate the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic contexts of individual games, and consider the relationship of games to other media forms and texts.  Screenings will combine examples from other media along with those of games. The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course


ETS 410-5 Forms and Genres: The American Horror Film
MW 5:15-6:35 p.m.
Film screening M 7:00-9:35p.m.
Instructor: Matthew Fee
From Universal Studios’ classics to low-budget independents, through “torture porn,” docu-horror and contemporary reboots, this course investigates the American horror film as a privileged site in which to explore a wide range of cinema’s industrial and ideological concerns. In this course, we will trace how industry practices, technological developments, and socio-political transformations influence cinematic constructions of monstrosity, as well as our changing fears and fascinations. We will also study how horror films have not only drawn from, but also significantly contributed to, various branches of film theory, including genre studies, feminist film theory, psychoanalysis, and trauma studies. The variety of films screened and discussed will enable us to analyze the multiple, and often contradictory, cinematic strategies for creating horror, as well as ongoing debates about the genre’s cultural value. Whether focusing on B-films or blockbusters, the course charts the development of the genre and looks at what horror films tell us about gender, sexuality, race, class, the body, the home, family, religion, consumerism, political anxiety, social unrest and violence.  The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course
 

ETS 430-1 Theorizing Representation: The Body in Contemporary Poetry
TTH 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Instructor:  David Eye
Poets have long gazed at and pined after, decried and celebrated, the human body. Historically, it was White straight males doing most of the gazing—and (usually) at somebody else. But from Whitman's Song, to Olds' personal intimacies, to Clifton's celebratory Odes, this course will traverse the landscape of the speaker's body in (mostly) contemporary poetry. We'll borrow from studies in gender, race, and sexuality, looking at and through the poems (and the bodies therein) to consider power, difference, and identity. How is the self-revealed through the sexual? How is the corporeal related to the communal? How does the contemporary poem use the body to navigate the terrains of feminism and racism? How do current poets embody queerness? Or negotiate the territory of the atypical, diseased, or aging body? We will pair the work of poets and scholars, and utilize various critical approaches to place poems into their literary and cultural contexts.


ETS 440-1 Theorizing History and Culture: Milton and the English Revolution
TTH 3:30-4:50 p.m.
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This course offers an in-depth reading of John Milton’s poetry and prose in the context of the political, religious, and social ferment of England in the seventeenth century.  Because Milton was a participant in—as well as a critic of—the revolutionary government of the 1650s, his is an intriguing case for examining the relation of poetry and politics.  Paradise Lost raises questions that are still with us: what does “freedom”—of religion, the press, speech, franchise, the individual—mean?  How do we achieve a good society? Why is it so difficult to make justice prevail in a “fallen” world?  To what extent do people make their own histories?   By situating Milton’s work in the full range of discourses available—from the far left of the Diggers to the far right of the Monarchists—we can tease out not only the major debates of the period, but the relation of cultural forms to how these debates unfold.  
Pre-1900 Course



ETS 440-2 Theorizing History and Culture: Time in Early Modern England
TTH 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Instructor: Melissa Welshans
An individual could experience the movement of time in many different ways in early modern England. One could mark the passage of time through the chiming of church bells, the observance of religious and secular holidays, the changing of the seasons, biological development and, thanks to brand new technology, personal timepieces. This course will examine an array of literature from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries to investigate the ways in which theories of time-keeping influenced early modern society, as well as consider recent critical insights into time in the literature and culture of early modern England. Texts under examination may include Spenser's Shephearde's Calendar,  Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Aemilia Lanyer's Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum, John Donne's Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions and Death's Duell, and Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker's The Roaring Girl​.
Pre-1900 Course


ETS 440-3 Theorizing History and Culture: Socially Engaged Hollywood
MW 12:45-2:05 p.m.
Film Screening M 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Instructor: Steven Doles
The weekly screenings scheduled for this course are required.
Film and Screen Studies Course

"If you want to send a message, use Western Union," a powerful studio executive says in an apocryphal, but oft-repeated, Hollywood legend. The line distills the common assumption that popular movies are intended to entertain, and that they are incapable of serious engagement with social causes. Throughout its history, however, Hollywood has released a large number of topical, engaged films commenting on contemporary issues, often to both critical and financial success. Our goal in this course is to return these films to their historical contexts, examining the purposes and meanings they served both for those who made them and those who watched them. We will develop a number of approaches to these films, thinking about topics such as how the studio system and censorship shape films as texts, to how different audiences engage with and interpret them, to how Hollywood narratives fit into a larger media environment. 



ETS 450-1 Reading Race and Ethnicity: Interethnic Encounter in Asian American Fiction and Film
MW 5:15-6:35
Instructor: Naomi Edwards
In The Interethnic Imagination, Caroline Rody argues that there has been an "interethnic turn" in ethnic American narrative since the 1990s that de-emphasizes national boundary in favor of a new, transnational realignment amidst the "global crosscurrents" of heterogeneous U.S. spaces. This course explores that turn in recent Asian American fiction and film to analyze the dynamics of interethnic encounter at the turn of the 21st century. We will consider the conditions of possibility for and consequences of interracial romance and friendship, sexuality and “racial fetishes,” the politics of transracial adoption, and ongoing effects of American imperialism in Asia. How are such points of contact depicted in recent Asian American fiction and film, and how might these writers and filmmakers help us to reconceptualize the meanings and boundaries of race and ethnicity? How have globalization, migration, and diaspora affected our understandings of national identity and multiculturalism in the new millennium?



ETS 464-1 The Prison Industrial Complex

MW 2:15-3:35 p.m.
Instructor: Donald Morton
During the Cold War, American commentators and ideologues constantly held up the existence of the Gulag labor camps in the USSR as evidence of the horrors of communism.  If the existence of prisons and forced labor is a sign of a bad society, how do we assess the existence—in the world’s only remaining superpower—of a vast Prison Industrial Complex, which warehouses large numbers of citizens and uses them as cheap labor? How do we understand the phenomenal growth of the U.S. prison population, which multiplied six times between 1973 and 1997? Why is it that other industrialized countries have incarceration rates only a fraction of that of the U.S.? Why are nearly half of all prison inmates’ today African-American men, even though they only constitute 9 per cent of the general population? What is the significance of the growing privatization of our prisons?  Why are Americans so fascinated with popular culture representations dealing with crime, punishment, and prison life? Does our system of crime and punishment serve not simply protective functions but also political and ideological functions of social and economic management and control?  


ETS 494-1 Research Practicum
W 3:45-6:30 p.m.
Instructor: Crystal Bartolovich
This one-credit course introduces students to the scope and demands of an Honors or Distinction project in ETS.  Enrollment is by invitation to participate in the Distinction Program, and/or Honors Program.  In our formal meetings, we will cover choosing an advisor, developing a suitable topic with engaging research questions, compiling a bibliography, reading critically, taking notes effectively, and writing a thesis proposal.  Our work should prepare you to write your thesis with confidence and intellectual rigor.  The texts covered in class will be your own writing and research for the most part, but some supplemental readings will be posted on Blackboard, so you should budget funds to print these out as well as to make copies of your completed assignments for me, your classmates, and your advisor, as directed.  The exercises and workshops are designed to prepare you for ETS 495: Thesis Writing Workshop in the spring.